Well, not exactly. I used tubes for most of 2002 to 2008. They just always sounded better to me. Even when I was using my SS amps, I always had to have tubes somewhere in the set up. It made the system sound better, but it always had the ability to add life and soul to the music.
While I had an all tube set up (cdp, pre, amp), I decided to try a SS cdp and passive pre. I liked the result a lot.
Then, I heard a gainclone amp at my dealer. I was so impressed with the sound that i bought a pair of gainclone mono blocks. The things they can do with sensitive speakers is just out of this world. They are extremely transparent and don't seem to add anything at all to the music. The sound quality of the cdp and pre really stood out. I couldn't believe the difference gear swapping made with my gainclones. Then I purchased an active pre amp of the same brand. So now I'm running pure solid state. The speed, dynamics, etc was incredible. But I noticed I began to lose interest in 2ch. I thought I just needed a break. But no. I just didn't spend as much time anymore and listening for more than 15 mins was rare. When I had tubes I was able to listen for hours at a time.
So I started playing around with speaker placement for a while with no improvement. It drove me nuts. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't enjoy my tunes anymore. The system sounded awesome but something was missing. The music didn't touch me the way it used to.
So two nights ago, I decided to disconnect the Rega Apollo and use my Original CD-A8T tube cd player. WHAM!! Instantly, even before the tubes fully warmed up It hit me. Everything I love about music and 2ch came right back. Complete euphoria. I listened for more than 2 hours straight with a big smile on my face. Did the same thing the following night and doing that again tonight. Like I mentioned before, the gain clones are so transparent, it felt like I was listening to a 12AU7 amp. Those are the output tubes in the cdp. I'm very farmiliar with the sound characteristics of the 12AU7 tubes because I rolled them for years in diferent gear. It felt like the amps and pre are not even there. Sounds like a pure tube system.
Soon I will be talking to my dealer about building me a tube buffer based on my favorite output tube, the 300B. I'm very excited about getting one built.
I don't know what it is, but it seems like having tubes, whether it's an all tube set up or SS with tubes somewhere in the chain does pure magic to the music.
I'm so happy to be enjoying my system again:).
I'd like to know why YOU need tubes in your set up? Doesn't matter if you're running all tubes or tubes/SS.